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Hats Off, Brava

Many of us face hostility and outright opposition from our loved one when we ask them to shower, or dress, or even eat a meal. It’s a part of dementia that gets worse as time goes on. Trying to figure out creative ways to persuade them, without losing our minds, sometimes ends in simply giving up.

Recently I ran across a story that left me laughing as well as tipping my hat at this young woman’s innovative idea to get a very cantankerous resident to do something she initially refused to do.

Anita recently moved into a new Assisted Care Facility and was immediately branded as one of the most difficult, crabby and problematic residents this care facility had seen in years.

The manager, Greg, made an offer to his employee, Janice, that she could go home an hour early if Janice could get Anita to put on her new, permanent GPS bracelet.

Janice trotted off to Anita’s room with her challenge, but no surprise, the bracelet, and Janice were instantly and theatrically thrown out of Anita's room.

Janice calmly came back to the office, went to the file cabinet and pulled Anita’s file. She was specifically looking for the Questionnaire the Assisted Care Facility had Anita's family-members fill out prior to her moving in.

Janice learned, among many other things, that Anita’s favorite color was mauve. She also saw that Anita had always loved birthdays, Christmas, and any holiday that was celebrated with gifts.

So, Janice decorated the GPS bracelet with mauve yarn, found a small box, put the GPS bracelet in soft golden tissue paper, and wrapped it up beautifully with mauve paper, ribbon and bows. She presented it to Anita saying it was a gift “special for her."

Anita’s eyes lit up when she saw her favorite color decorated as a gift box, then smiled even brighter when she learned the gift was for her. Anita was thrilled, immediately put the bracelet on, showing off her new present to all the staff and residents. Thankfully, the other residents smiled and encouraged her good fortune, never letting on that they had a bracelet exactly like it.

Greg, the manager, bowed, laughed and clapped his hands at Janice’s creativity. He then gave Janice another tough challenge with the promise she could go home two hours early if she could get Anita to shower, wash her hair, and put on clean clothes. Not only did Janice succeed in all of those things, but Greg also noticed Anita had a fresh coat of clear nail polish on her fingernails!

“How in the world did you accomplish this?” Greg asked astonished. Janice only smiled, this time not giving away her inspired method, no doubt putting it in her arsenal for future time off!

Congratulations Janice! You exemplify Mr. Shakespear's message in today's quote with your gift of thoughtfulness, compassion, creativity, and smarts, then found a wonderful vocation in which to share it~


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